We were thrilled to sit down with Dani and Anthony, who share the best and worst parts of working together on a yacht and their advice for partners looking to make this their career.
Dani and Anthony, how did you each get started working in the industry, and how did you meet?
Dani: I was working at a restaurant in Palma de Mallorca, which is a popular destination for yachts, so there were a lot of boats around. I’d always wanted to give it a try, and with my hospitality background, I was confident about working in the field.
I met my first Captain while I was working in the restaurant, and she ended up taking me with her to work onboard. Now I work as a second stewardess. I like the work and the constant rotation through different tasks and positions. It’s a great position if you like the challenge of organization and efficiency, and I’ve improved in both of these areas over time.
Anthony: I was fortunate to have both a brother and a cousin who had worked in the field for quite some time, so I had good examples of success, and they’d each been trying to get me into yachting since I left school.
I was reluctant at first, but then I decided to try it for a year and then head back home to South Africa. However, I’ve found I enjoy it so much that I plan to make a career out of it. I work as the bosun on my current boat.
I met Dani when we were working together, on a previous boat for me, and Dani’s first boat. She worked on the boat based out of Palma for three years, and when I came on for a seasonal role, we met and got together.
What’s are the best and worst things about working together onboard?
Anthony: Honestly, working together is amazing. You get to see your partner every day, you get to share these incredible experiences and see new places together, and you don’t have to worry about feeling alone or being separated across a distance.
Dani: I agree. Having someone to share this experience with, whether the really special, unique moments or just the everyday life, it’s fantastic. It’s like having family with you, and you know you have someone who is 100% on your side, right there with you.
Anthony & Dani: Perhaps the most difficult thing is just learning to work through any problems or disagreements quickly. You don’t have the benefit of space or time apart to get some distance if you have a problem or an argument -- you have to work it out right there and then. if you let it linger, it can really become a problem.
Our communication skills have gotten much better because we work and live together in a small space. And you always have to be aware of the other people you’re working alongside, and be certain to take arguments away from public spaces. At the end of the day, you’re there to do a job, so you have to work through any problems right away.
It’s important to stay professional. We’d both been working in the industry for a bit when we met, so we know how the job works and what to do and not to do to keep it more professional in the eyes of your coworkers. As our relationship has matured we’ve grown together.
What advice would you give to couples seeking joint positions?
Anthony & Dani: If you’re new to the industry, be patient and stick it out. There’s a boat out there for everyone. It is competitive, and you may be tempted to take the first offer that comes your way, but especially if you’re looking for jobs as a couple, it’s worth it to wait for the right fit. You want to find positions that will interest and benefit both of you.
Many boats need deckhands and stewardesses, so that’s a good pairing if you’re still deciding which jobs to select as your specialties.
It’s important to talk to the Captain and be upfront about your status as a couple and your priorities. Sometimes couples can be of benefit to a boat based on cabin arrangements. Also, couples that come on board tend to stay longer, which creates stability, something that many Captains appreciate.
Understand that some boats just don’t want couples. It’s not personal, they simply see it as too much potential for drama, and you’ll just have to accept this as you search for positions. If this is the case, then this isn’t the right boat for you.
If you’re already on a boat without your partner, talk to the Captain, and let him or her know about your partner and your desire to work together. Cultivate a good relationship with the Captain as this could lead to a position opening up for your partner in the future.
And keep an open mind as you’re job-hunting. In our case, even if the position didn’t show a couples position, we would apply anywhere and explain our relationship. Sometimes positions aren’t advertised as couples positions, but you can express your interest, explain your relationship, and see if other positions might be available.
Whatever you do, definitely let them know up front and be honest about your situation. Don’t try to hide it - that could backfire and it could end up wasting everyone’s time and even damaging your reputation. Just be patient, be honest, and find the right fit.
Do you have any general advice for those new to or interested in breaking into the industry?
Anthony: Don’t believe reality TV! Seriously, though, if you’re interested in working hard, meeting new people, and traveling the world, then give it a shot. I had no idea what it was really like even though I had a brother working in the industry, and once you get started, you realize that it’s pretty awesome.
Dani: Realize that it is hard work and you’re not always going to have a lot of free time, but the time you do have will be really worthwhile.
Anthony: And, don’t get discouraged at first, it can be difficult to find your first job. It took me 4 months -- but once you find the position that’s for you, you’ll be happy you stuck it out.
What are your favorite destinations?
Anthony: Palma de Mallorca is really special. I could see myself settling there and starting a life in Palma. The other place I’ve really loved is Alaska. I would go back there in a heartbeat. With yachting, you’re often focused on palm trees and beaches, so it’s nice to have a change to see big mountains and snow and pine trees. It’s such a different type of beauty.
Dani: Palma has to be my favorite as well. I’m in love with the Caribbean. And while I haven’t gone there on a yacht, I love South Africa and Montenegro -- they’re both such beautiful destinations.
Any other thoughts you’d want to share?
Anthony & Dani: Stay strong, because the rewards are coming, no matter what. You’ll work long hours and have some difficult tasks, but the reward is worth it.
And once you get onto a boat -- even just dayworking -- be a sponge and show that you’re interested in everything. Learn from everyone, no matter their position or job. Everyone can teach you something, and anything you learn will benefit you as you move along in your career.
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